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Confronting Reverse Culture Shock

The school year is coming to a close and soon your exchange student will be returning to his or her home country. They will be reuniting with friends and relatives who they have not seen in a year! While they may be excited about returning home, they may also be a bit nervous and sad to leave their life in the U.S.

Going home is often accompanied by something called reverse culture shock. After spending 10 months in the U.S. living in a new environment, your student may now face challenging feelings of disorientation and adaptation when they return to their home country. Reverse culture shock is similar to culture shock, but it occurs when you return to an environment that you once knew well. Among other things, symptoms can include fatigue, frustration, homesickness for the US and your family. Sometimes students are overwhelmed by their return home and, as a result, find themselves overcome by feelings of displacement and sadness.

How do you support your exchange student through his or her transition home? How do you help them say goodbye to friends that they have made while they were here? What if everything at home has changed for them? What if they have changed? To find out more about ways to deal with reverse culture shock please read the CIEE policy gram on reverse culture shock on our website

Culture shock